Police likely killed wrong man responding to US mall shooting

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Published 25.11.2018 00:32
Updated 25.11.2018 00:38
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A policeman appears to have shot and killed the wrong person in responding to a shooting in an Alabama shopping mall that left two others wounded, police said Saturday, correcting an earlier account of the Black Friday incident.

Police in Hoover, Alabama, originally said 21-year-old Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford pulled a gun and opened fire during a physical altercation in the Riverchase Galleria mall, wounding an 18-year-old man.

A 12-year-old girl was also wounded in the incident.

A uniformed Hoover police officer then shot Bradford dead as he ran from the scene brandishing a gun, police said.

"New evidence suggests that while Bradford may have been involved in some aspect of the altercation, he likely did not fire the rounds that injured the 18-year-old victim," Hoover police said in a statement.

"This information indicates that there is at least one gunman at large, who could be responsible for the shooting of the 18-year-old male and 12-year-old female." he said.

U.S. media published photographs of Bradford, who was black.

Video posted on social media by shoppers showed a chaotic scene as shoppers fled the mall, which closed for the remainder of Thursday night.

The Alabama Law Enforcement Agency has taken the lead role in the investigation since it is an officer-involved shooting.

Hoover police asked for anyone with information, photos or video evidence of this crime scene to please contact investigators.

A witness, Lexi Joiner, told Al.com she was shopping with her mother when the gunfire started. Joiner said she heard six or seven shots and was ordered, along with some other shoppers, into a supply closet for cover.

"It was terrifying," Joiner said.

A woman who described herself as the mother of the injured 12-year-old posted on social media that the girl was on a Black Friday shopping trip with other family members when the shooting happened, and didn't immediately realize that the pain in her back was from a bullet.

"She was hurting a lot, but very brave and positive as always," the mother wrote after seeing the girl when she arrived at a hospital.

Hoover police said Friday morning that the girl was in stable condition.

The officer who shot the gunman was placed on administrative leave while the authorities investigate the shooting. The officer's name was not released. The officers were not hurt.

The Riverchase Galleria mall bills itself as the largest enclosed shopping center in Alabama, with more than 150 stores.

There have been a series of fatal encounters in recent years between U.S. police and African Americans, who formed the Black Lives Matter Movement in response.

The police officer involved has been put on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

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